Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
WITH a mineral reserve of RM732bil, the government is looking to develop the rare earth mining industry.
The mineral reserves are 1.3 million tonnes of tin worth RM83.6bil in Pahang, Kedah, Perak, Johor, Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu.
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said Pahang, Kelantan, Johor, Terengganu, Perak, Melaka, Kedah and Negri Sembilan had iron ore worth around RM57.8bil with an estimated reserve of 498.6 million tonnes.
Other minerals, he said, included bauxite (RM15.6bil, 169.8 million tonnes), copper (RM9.04bil, 5.85 million tonnes), nickel (RM1.7bil,
75 million tonnes), manganese (RM500mil, 5.7 million tonnes) and gold (RM9.9bil).
He said the industry could generate up to RM100bil of income over the next decade.
“The ministry is studying the policies and mineral legislation to develop rare earth element resources using the best and most sustainable mining practices,” he said in reply to a question raised by Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara (PH-Segamat) during Question Time.
Dr Xavier said a survey showed that potential deposits were found in Tanah Merah and Jeli in Kelantan, Baling and Kulim in Kedah, Kati, Trong and Grik in Perak, Muar in Johor and Simunjan and Sematan in Sarawak.
But he acknowledged that there were worries, as raised by Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (PAS-Pasir Puteh), about the effects of rare earth mining following the bauxite mining issue in Pahang.
Dr Xavier said the government had banned the export of bauxite.